Proposals for the future of CSS Paged Media

Editor's Draft 7 March 2013

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Daniel Glazman, Disruptive Innovations


This module describes an extension of the page model that partitions a flow into pages. It adds to Paged Media Level 3 features introduced by other modules like CSS Regions or CSS Exclusions and Shapes: content flows, exclusions, more powerful headers and footers, etc. It does not deprecate nor obsolete Paged Media Level 3 but is designed to live gracefully with it.

Status of this Document

This is a public copy of the editors' draft. It is provided for discussion only and may change at any moment. Its publication here does not imply endorsement of its contents by W3C. Don't cite this document other than as work in progress.

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This document was produced by the CSS Working Group (part of the Style Activity).

This document was produced by a group operating under the 5 February 2004 W3C Patent Policy. W3C maintains a public list of any patent disclosures made in connection with the deliverables of the group; that page also includes instructions for disclosing a patent. An individual who has actual knowledge of a patent which the individual believes contains Essential Claim(s) must disclose the information in accordance with section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.

1. Introduction

Convergence between electronic books and Open Web Standards requires new features related to pagination and page layouts. If CSS Paged Media Level 3 paved the way, extension of its page model is now needed to provide the industry with solutions more in line with the new usage modes of Web Standards on one hand, better integrated with the state of the art of CSS on the other.

This module describes how other CSS modules like Regions, Grid Layout, Exclusions and Shapes can enhance the page model for a better pagination on the Web and on print.

2. Conformance

All of the text in this specification is normative except sections explicitly marked as non-normative, examples, and notes. The keywords "MUST", "SHALL", "MUST NOT", "SHALL NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" when used in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119]. However, for readability, these words do not appear in all uppercase letters in this specification.

Examples in this specification are introduced with the words "for example" or are set apart from the normative text with class="example", like this:

This is an example of an informative example.

Informative notes begin with the word "Note" and are set apart from the normative text with class="note", like this:

Note, this is an informative note.

3. The CSS 3 Page Model

This section is informative.

The current Page Model, as described in CSS3 Module: Paged Media [CSS3PAGE], is the following one: the printable area of a page, the page box, is made of one page box itself divided in four areas:
CSS 3 Paged Media's page model The CSS3 Page Model

  1. the page margin; that area is itself divided into 16 page-margin boxes (@top-left-corner, @top-left, @top-center, etc. )
    CSS 3 page-margin boxes The 16 page-margin boxes
    (with highlight of 3 of them)
  2. the page border
  3. the page padding
  4. and finally the page area containing the boxes generated by the flow of the main contents of the document.

It's is possible to flow content, for instance page headers and footers or footnotes, into a page-margin box using features introduced by the CSS Generated Content for Paged Media Module [CSS3GCPM].

It is also possible to define multiple page templates for a single document using the @page at-rule that allows to select the first page, left pages, right pages or named pages of a paginated flow.

If this page model allowed the publishing industry to adopt HTML and CSS as pivot formats, it starts showing its limits for the following reasons:


    Normative References

    Bert Bos; et al. Cascading Style Sheets Level 2 Revision 1 (CSS 2.1) Specification. 7 June 2011. W3C Recommendation. URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2011/REC-CSS2-20110607/
    Vincent Hardy; Rossen Atanassov; Alan Stearns. CSS Exclusions and Shapes Module Level 3. 3 May 2012. W3C Working Draft. (Work in progress.) URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/WD-css3-exclusions-20120503/
    Alex Mogilevsky; et al. CSS Grid Layout. 6 November 2012. W3C Working Draft. (Work in progress.) URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/WD-css3-grid-layout-20121106/
    Vincent Hardy; Alex Mogilevsky; Alan Stearns. CSS Regions Module Level 3. 23 August 2012. W3C Working Draft. (Work in progress.) URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/WD-css3-regions-20120823/
    Håkon Wium Lie. CSS Generated Content for Paged Media Module. 29 November 2011. W3C Working Draft. (Work in progress.) URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2011/WD-css3-gcpm-20111129/
    Håkon Wium Lie; Melinda Grant. CSS3 Module: Paged Media. 10 October 2006. W3C Working Draft. (Work in progress.) URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2006/WD-css3-page-20061010
    S. Bradner. Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels. Internet RFC 2119. URL: http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2119.txt

    Informative References